As he prepares jury rig for Perth
Mike Golding is almost ready to set a jury rig on his dismasted Ecover 3, but will ride out the next storm before attempting to set it up and get moving under sail. Speaking again early this afternoon the British skipper said there were similarities between his dismasting today and that which happened in late November 2006 hours after rescuing Alex Thomson.
” Suddenly the boat took off on a wave. The wind instruments said the breeze was well over 40 knots. I grabbed my jacket and had just got on deck, half in half out my jacket, and the boat really sort of heeled over. The breeze got really strong and there was a big bang and the rig let go.”
” It was knocked by a wave, not knocked flat so it was still powered up. The first thing you do with a gust is dial the pilot down while you work out if you have to do something about it or you can sit it out. There are very awkward seas and a big sea just pushed the stern round, so the boat was probably at 120-130 degrees and so the boat was very powered up at that point.”
” The rig gave way very quickly so it was over in seconds. On the data feed you can see the wind gear stops at 49 knots and the boat speed was 30 knots. So it is just an overload on the rig. I wasn’t expecting the squall.”
” The boat took off down the wave. I was at the nav station doing some met. The boat took off and I hit the pilot button, dialled down a bit, the boat swung round on the sea, I grabbed my jacket, opened the hatch and Bang. You can see it on the data chart it is just an amazing progression of the line and then just goes off the chart. The top wind speed is 49 knots and the boat speed is 30 knots. It is pretty crazy.
The time span of the acceleration from the gust starting, to the rig going is two minutes.
” I was conservative overnight. I had dropped the bow to avoid the slamming, I had stayed with two reefs configuration downwind, when day broke the breeze was 24 knots, and Staysail and two reefs is pretty slow in those big seas. So I had to something. I had had two hours of consistent running on that sail-plan without feeling over-pressed. So, but there you go, the irony is that it is so similar to the dismasting after getting Alex Thomson. It is a configuration that the rig does not like.
I wish I had plans. Immediately there is not much I can do. Now it is a little dangerous to get the jury rig set up. I will leave that overnight. I have set up a couple of backstay strops on the boom, I have taken off the bits and pieces you don’t need, I have two or three forestays set. It is all ready to hoist and I don’t want to do it prematurely. I have another depression coming which will give me another 24-48 hours of bad weather. And then after that there is a little bit of SW’ly wind coming in which should be my opportunity to make some northing. Basically the plan is to try and make Perth or Fremantle or somewhere on that coast, but it is going to be pretty hard to make straight north from here. More realistically I will have to go to the North East, which leaves you with Adelaide or Hobart or somewhere like that. The shortest one is definitely Perth, and so that depends on how long the SW’ly holds good for. I am going to try and get the jury rig up and try and make some decent progress.
“It is difficult to describe. It is such a cruel race. I just don’t know how I am feeling. It was all like a bit of a dream. You can’t believe that you are looking at polls with you in first place and then within hours you have got the rig down. It is unbelievable, completely devastating, shocking, extremely frustrating.
“I did not think my luck at turned. I was leading the race, but I never thought my luck had turned.”